Have you ever heard of “coin parking”?
I hadn’t, until I started learning Japanese. I don’t remember ever using the phrase “coin parking”. Metered parking? Parking meter? Sure. I haven’t seen one in a while, but sure, I’ve said it. Coin parking?! コインパーキング！？Not so much.
Searching the term on Google led to a bunch of English results about the Japanese parking system. The exceptions? Parking lots for places with coin in their name (like Copper Coin, a restaurant in Seattle) and queries for coin parking meters. Or random queries that had both “coin” and “parking” somewhere.
The Japanese language is full of these Japanese-English terms. They are called wasei Eigo (和製英語). Sometimes they are close to the original English meanings, but you cannot blindly throw them into a translation and consider the job done. Another example that comes to mind is コインランドリー. Coin laundry. Sure, you might understand what it means, but, assuming you’re from the US, you probably use the word “laundromat”.
Don’t fall into the trap of using wasei Eigo in your translations. It may look like English, but it is very much Japanese.
If you’re interested in reading more about wasei Eigo, check out this other blog.
P.S. My favorite wasei Eigo term is マジックテープ. “Magic tape”. Velcro.
Leave a comment with your favorite wasei Eigo!